Thesis: Learning Environment of Schools at Present Are Heavily Biased Toward Uniformity Over Diversity

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Learning Environment of Schools at Present Are Heavily Biased Toward Uniformity Over Diversity

Over the last 50 years, the overall style of teaching has remained the same. Where, the approach has been to teach in the same universal standards for everyone. This is despite the fact that over 50 years ago several leading educational scholars disputed the model of using a one size fits all approach to teach. Instead, these leading thinkers advocated an approach of allowing each person to learn according to their own individual learning style. An example of this can been with Nathaniel Cantor who said, "The public elementary, high schools, and colleges, generally project what they consider to be the proper way of learning which is uniform for all students." (Guild, 2001) What this means, is that despite the obvious need for teaching to each students unique learning styles, the public school system continued to embrace the traditional model . This is significant, because it shows that despite the obvious differences in learning styles, the public school system has refused to acknowledge this fact. Instead, they have begun labeling those who may have various learning styles as mentally challenged. Simply put, this is when someone is considered to have some kind of mental disorder that will impair their ability to function normally in daily life. The way that this information is determined is by using various forms of testing such as: an IQ test. (Howell, 2010) the problem with using this form of testing is: that the school system is continuing to use the same one size fits all approach, when it comes to evaluating mental abilities. Where, they are placing an emphasis on the underlying test scores to determine the intelligence of a wide variety of students. As a result, this has caused a number of students to be labeled as slow or mentally challenged, when they learn differently and are capable of understanding the materials covered in school. Over the course of time, this can cause the school system to miss some of the brightest students, because they are only using one form of subjective testing to determine this. Some good examples of this can be seen by looking no further than: Albert Einstein (who was thought to be simple minded, because of the challenges he had with math / writing) and Thomas Edison (who learned to read at 12 years old). (Hunt, n.d.) This is significant, because it shows how despite the fact that everyone will learn according to their own style, the public school system will continue to embrace this model. The purpose of this study is: to show that the public school system needs to embrace a model that reaches out to each student's unique learning ability. This will have a dramatic impact upon the overall quality of education that is being received. To determine this we will: outline the methodology that will be utilized, conduct a literature review, analyze the different results of the literature review and provide specific recommendations. Together, these different elements will provide the greatest insights, as to how accounting for the different learning styles will improve the quality of education that is being received.

Methodology

The methodology that will be used is qualitative analysis. This is when you are seeking to understand what make someone engage in the different actions or activities they do, by looking at the underlying emotions. In most cases, an extensive interview process is used by examining those pieces of literature that can provide the best answers, through a series of interviews that were conducted. ("What is Qualitative Research," 2009) Where, you are using the results to determine common causes that could show how changing the educational model reflects the different learning styles. This will have a dramatic impact upon the overall quality of education that is being received.

Literature Review

Reid, G. (2007). Self Knowledge. Motivating Learners in the Classroom. (pp. 26 -- 38). Thousand Oaks, CA: Chapman Publishing.

In this piece of literature, the author identifies what is known as learning preferences. This is where you are looking at key characteristics in the way that each student learns; to determine what type of learning style would work best for them. There are three categories of learning styles to include: modality preference, personality type and social factors. Modality preference is when you are observing the best way that each person learns, by looking for different modalities that they would respond favorably to (i.e. audio / visual learning). Personality type is when you are analyzing the student's individual personality, to determine what kind of challenges they could face in a learning environment. Social factors are when you are looking at different social issues that could help to improve the overall amounts of learning comprehension. (Reid, 2007) This is significant, because it is useful in helping to identify what issues could be affecting each student. Where, those educators that can effectively reach out to different students will be able to determine the overall learning styles of the student. At which point, they can begin to decide how they can adapt their lesson plan to each individual learning style.

Smart Technologies. (2006). Interactive White Boards and Learning. Canada, Author. http://www2.smarttech.com/NR/rdonlyres/2C729F6E-0A8D-42B8-9B32-F90BE0A746D8/0/Int_Whiteboard_Research_Whitepaper_Update.pdf

In the article, Interactive Whiteboards and Learning, the author discusses the overall impact that white boards will have on the learning process. Where, they examined a number of different studies that show how effective this style of teaching is in a variety countries around the globe. The article, then shift gears and discusses how the use of white boards is an effective way of reaching out to the different learning styles. Where, the author determined that in all of the different countries and areas of education, this has shown to be an effective tool at reaching out to a variety of students (Smart Technologies, 2006) This is significant, because it shows how using white boards can help improve the overall teaching style, by giving educators an effective tool to achieve this objective.

Lowry, a. (2004). Learning Styles Inventory. The Power of the 2 x 2 Matrix. (pp. 267 -- 271) San Francisco CA: Jossey Bass.

In this piece of literature, the author discusses several factors that are most important to the learning cycle these would include: accommodations, convergers, assimilators and divergers. Accommodations are when people will learn based upon providing them with real world examples and case studies. Those who would learn well under these conditions are more hands on type of personalities and people who enjoy troubleshooting problems. Convergers is when someone enjoys working in a more structured environment (such as a laboratory), where they can control the different variables, to learn more effectively. Assimilators are logical thinkers who are concerned about theoretical ideas, versus how effective they are in the real world. Divergers are those who are more creative, that enjoy watching and understanding the overall experience. In general, these kinds of people are interested in lectures and find revealing their thoughts as the best way to express themselves (often through use of various journals). Next, the literature discusses how educators can be able to survey their class and determine what factors would be relevant for each student. (Lowry, 2004) This is significant, because this provides more insights as to how different students will learn and what environmental factors are the most important. For educators, this is an important tool in being able to create a lesson plan / teaching style that will reflect the different types of learning methods.

Deede, C. (2004). Planning for Neomillennial Learning Styles. Harvard Graduate School of Education.

In this working paper, the author discusses how the overall learning style of education can be improved through the use of new technology. Where, they found that it helps to automatically reach out to the different learning styles. What happens is this new technology will present the issue in a number of different ways. For example, the use of internet technology in the classroom can provide students with a chance, to be exposed to the various materials in a number of different forms. Where, they will first be exposed to the idea through the traditional verbal and hand written methods. Then, when you begin to use internet technology to provide further explanations to students; they have a chance to interact with the material outside of the traditional teaching style. At which point, they begin to remember more of the material, because they are exposed to it through a number of different forms. To determine the overall effectiveness the authors reviewed a number of different research studies that were conducted in a variety of educational environments. Where, they came to the same conclusion which is: the use of technology in the classroom can effectively help to reach out to each student. Over the course of time, this will improve the overall amounts of learning comprehension that is taking place, as the use of new technology automatically exposes students to the material in a number of forums. (Deede, 2004) This is… [END OF PREVIEW]

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